Zoya Nail Polish Review

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Written by Leigh Matthews, BA Hons, H.Dip. NT

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Leigh Matthews, BA Hons, H.Dip. NT

Sustainability Expert

Leigh Matthews is a sustainability expert and long time vegan. Her work on solar policy has been published in Canada's National Observer.

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Zoya is a top pick for non-toxic nail polish. Here’s why we like it and the pros and cons of Zoya nail polish.

Zoya Nail Polish

Highlights: More than 400 shades, all of which are at least Big 10-free and vegan. Incredibly long-lasting natural nail polish with glitter options that are plastic-free.

Overall Score
Durability Score
Toxicity Score
Sustainability Score
User Experience Score
Transparency Score

What we like

  • Vegan
  • Pregnancy safe
  • Breathable and water permeable
  • Plastic-free glitter polishes available
  • In recyclable glass and plastic
  • Packaged in cardboard
  • Family company founded in the US by immigrant refugees

What could be better

  • Still contain some dubious chemical ingredients that pose a risk to health

At a glance:

Made in: USA

Ingredients (Stevie glitter polish): Butyl Acetate, Ethyl Acetate, Nitrocellulose, Acetyl Tributyl Citrate, Isopropyl Alcohol, Stearalkonium Hectorite (Zoya calls it Sterikonium Hectolite), Acrylates Copolymer, Styrene / Acrylates Copolymer. 

Certifications: None given

What is Zoya?

Founded by a married couple named (surprise!) Zoya and Michael, a cosmetologist and chemist respectively, the company was one of the first to push the industry towards eliminating some of the most toxic chemicals in nail polish.

What I like

Zoya boasts an impressive 400-plus shades in its nail polish collection. These polishes have always been Big 10-free, though they used to be advertised as 5-free, per popular marketing at the time.

These polishes are also vegan-friendly.

Zoya is a popular brand with folks who know their cosmetics as well as in nail salons. You’re much more likely to find Zoya at your regular nail salon than you are most of the less toxic, more sustainable nail polish brands I recommend at Leaf Score.

Zoya polish is also one of the better options if you are hard on your manicure. This polish is a little thicker and more robust than some of the thinner, water-based polishes. In fact, Zoya polish was recognized as the longest wearing natural nail polish by an independent panel in Women’s Health Magazine.

Toxicity

Zoya polish is and always has been Big 10-free. That means these polishes don’t contain:

  1. Formaldehyde
  2. Formaldehyde resin
  3. Dibutyl phthalate
  4. Toluene
  5. Camphor
  6. TPHP
  7. Parabens
  8. Xylene
  9. Ethyl tosylamide
  10. Lead.

A closer look at toxicity

As an example of what’s in Zoya nail polishes, I looked at a glitter polish called Stevie.

The ingredients list comprises: Butyl Acetate, Ethyl Acetate, Nitrocellulose, Acetyl Tributyl Citrate, Isopropyl Alcohol, Stearalkonium Hectorite (or Sterikonium Hectolite as Zoya seem to call it), Acrylates Copolymer, Styrene / Acrylates Copolymer. 

As with some other polishes, this product may pose a risk of health effects related to exposure to residual styrene and contaminants.

Sustainability

Zoya’s glitter polish is microplastic-free and made with mica (a mineral)

Zoya isn’t the most sustainable brand but is certainly better than average. For instance, Zoya uses plastic-free glitter in all of its polishes, favoring mica instead of microplastics or algae-based glitter. There’s no indication of sustainable or ethical sourcing for the mica though, so while we appreciate the lack of plastic, the mica doesn’t get top marks from me.

Zoya does use glass and plastic in its bottle and brushes that are recyclable. And it packages its polishes in cardboard that is recycled and recyclable. For bigger orders, Zoya uses biodegradable packing peanuts that dissolve in water.

In the UK, Zoya offers an annual Earth Month mail-in option for sending your used nail polish bottles back to the company for recycling.

Final thoughts

Because Zoya is a larger company with a huge line of nail polishes, it often offers really good sales. For instance, you can get a great bundle discount on things like the Zoya Holiday Quads Gift Set in Under the Mistletoe (View Price on Amazon), which includes four full-sized (0.5 oz) nail polishes.

You can also pick up a single full size bottle for just $10!

Want more options for nail polish, including glitter polish made sustainably? Check out our top picks for eco-friendly, non-toxic nail polish.

Zoya Nail Polish

Highlights: More than 400 shades, all of which are at least Big 10-free and vegan. Incredibly long-lasting natural nail polish with glitter options that are plastic-free.

Overall Score
Durability Score
Toxicity Score
Sustainability Score
User Experience Score
Transparency Score

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